Whether you are unemployed, self-employed, or under your employer’s insurance plan, the process of finding affordable care can be frustrating. When you factor in the confusion around the Affordable Care Act, you will see that finding a plan can be nightmarish. Of course, affordable insurance exists but you have to ensure that it can cover your needs and qualifying can be tricky.
You can always choose to go uninsured but that is a risky choice. If you end up needing surgery for a broken arm, you could be on the hook for up to $15,000. Here are some tips that will help you to find affordable insurance:
When shopping around for top health insurance companies, you should consider more than one. You have nothing to lose except a bit of money when you check out all your options.
Buy Through Agents
If the choices are overwhelming and you need expert help, you should consider hiring an insurance agent to help you. There are two types of agents: captive who offer products through a single company and independent ones who can help you choose from a variety of insurers. If you are set on working with a specific company, a captive agent is the best choice.
Buy Directly from Companies
Insurance websites have a wider range of policies than there are on the state exchanges. On insurer websites, you can compare the plan details and see more information then apply online. Unless you know the company that you want to do business with, this option does not save money because you will not see options offered by other companies.
Buy through Online Insurance Finder
An online insurance finder works like an independent agent but lacks the personal touch. You have to answer a few questions first to get offers from several companies. With online insurance finders, convenience is the major advantage. Before you sign anything, make sure that you read the fine print.
Find out if You Qualify for Special Programs
CHIP, Medicare, and Medicaid provide subsidized health care for persons who qualify. The most well-known is Medicare and it provides care for persons over the age of 65. On the other hand, Medicaid offers health care to people with very low incomes. If you want to check your eligibility, you should apply through your health insurance exchange.
If you find out that you qualify, you can apply for CHIP or Medicaid at any time of the year.
Hit up Your Parents
If you are below the age of 26, ACA will allow you to remain on your parent’s plans. If they ask you to pay the difference between dropping you and keeping you on their plan, it will be your cheapest option. Even if you are financially independent or married, you should take advantage of this option.
Make sure that the plan offers in-network care in your area because out-of-network costs can bankrupt you very fast.
Consider High-deductible Plans
If you will not be using your health plan that much, you should opt for plans with low monthly premiums and high deductibles. Under the ACA, you are eligible for this type of plan if you are below thirty. If you are over 30, you will qualify for a high-deductible plan if you also qualify for a hardship exemption – dire financial situations such as homelessness.
A catastrophic plan will allow you to have prescription coverage, three primary care physician visits a year, as well as other important benefits. Opt for the high-deductible plan if you are in good health; otherwise, this cheap plan can end up becoming very costly.